Practice Report: Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2012

Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman stopped by Target Center to address the team on Wednesday. Adelman has missed the last five games to be with his wife in the hospital, and he still does not have a timetable to return.

“We saw him today,” forward Derrick Williams said. “He came to talk to us for a little bit. We can’t go over the details of what’s going on, but he came to talk to us and kept our spirits up. It was good seeing him.”

Assistant coach Terry Porter has assumed interim head coaching duties, and he was glad that Adelman was able to connect with the team, if only for a brief visit.

“It was good for the guys to see him,” Porter said. “It was good to have him there and give an update on everything. I think every guy just said ‘hang in there,’ it was that type of environment. He spoke, gave that kind of update.”

The Wolves were short-handed again on Wednesday, as Andrei Kirilenko, Alexey Shved and Lazar Hayward all missed the workout due to illness. That left the Wolves with just eight players participating, and it meant Porter needed to get creative with how he put the lineups together.

The answer? Assistant coach Bill Bayno and player development coach Shawn Respert each filled in and helped make a 5-on-5 situation.

Porter said Respert, a standout at Michigan State and a former NBA player, still has his jump shot intact.

"His jumpshot is still sharp," Porter said. "You don't lose the jumpshot. If you're a jump shooter, you don't lose that. You just lose the legs."

Dante’s Shooting Slump

One thing the Wolves have seemingly been able to count on this season is Dante Cunningham’s mid-range jumper. With a tall release point and consistent form, Cunningham has made the area his bread and butter.

Last game against Dallas, he shot just 6-for-18 (33 percent) from the field and struggled from his sweet spot near the free throw line.

“They were just hitting back rim,” Cunningham said. “[It was] a combination of everything. Legs, form, getting touches. Nothing’s wrong, I just need to get them up.”

Cunningham went back and reviewed his shots in Dallas like he does every game, and found nothing wrong with the shots he took. Coach Porter didn’t, either.

“I’m not concerned about Dante’s shooting,” Porter said. “They’ve been all quality looks, all within his range. He works on his shot a lot. I’d be more concerned if he starts passing them up, and then that throws our offense out of wack. If we execute and he gets a wide open shot on a possession, we want him to take it. No matter who it is, if it’s in their rhythm, in their target spot, we just have to live with the results. We aren’t too concerned, we know he’s going to start knocking those down.”

Quick Hits

  • Williams on only practicing with eight players today: “We had eight players today, but I think they’ll be back by tomorrow. They had a little sickness or whatever, but I think they’ll be alright.”

  • Cunningham on playing more minutes: “That can affect your shooting. It’s a different feeling after four or five games at 30+ minutes, your legs do feel different. I’m used to 25 minutes a game, and it’s just an adjustment. I need to make the adjustment quicker.”

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